Day 81: Fined again!
John & Jenny
Mon 24 Jan 2011 16:52
Day 81: Monday 24 January 2011. Private house, Accra, Ghana. N05 34.071 W000 11.263 Distance driven 286 km
We reluctantly left the idyllic Green Turtle Lodge at 8 am in the relative cool of the morning, and drove back to Accra. It is a tedious journey but at least the road surface is good. It is almost entirely single lane and the road winds through village after village, all with a 50 kph limit and multiple rumble strips - normally 3 sets of 5 strips on the approach and another 3 sets of 5 strips on leaving. One has no sooner got out of the 50 kph zone then there is another village!
On one of the open stretches (100 kph limit) we had become boxed in behind a large slow truck belching diesel fumes onto us as it crawled up a long hill at 40 kph. I finally found a stretch where I could see that it was clear ahead to overtake and we raced past. Unfortunately, as we cleared the back of the truck it exposed a "50" sign behind it! We passed ahead of the truck straight into the beam of a police radar gun at 83 kph, also having overtaken on a continuous white line! We got pulled over and given the option of a day in Court or a negotiated fine for the two violations. We chose to negotiate and eventually settled for 50 cedis (about £22). We drove more slowly for the rest of the trip!
We heard from Tom and Fran that they had been to the Angolan Embassy in Accra to try there for their Angolan visas but they were firmly refused as that Embassy will only give visas to Ghanian Nationals. Based on their experience, we had been going to give it a try tomorrow but now we shall go straight to Togo tomorrow morning.
On the way back today we stopped off at several coffin makers. These workshops are by the side of the road and open-fronted so that the finished and unfinished caskets are on display for all to see. They are all very elaborate and usually spray painted in metallic colours. One can have any type of custom design and the ones we saw included a fish, various cars, a doll's house, a beer bottle and a tube of toothpaste!
Last night we went on a turtle walk on the beach to see if we could see any turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. We walked for about an hour and a half but saw no turtles. Green turtle Lodge have a turtle protection program and mount a night patrol to deter fishermen from poaching the turtles. During the day yesterday, some of our friends who were leaving GTL, came across a local taxi with 5 large turtles aboard which were being taken to the local market for sale. They purchased them and had the taxi bring them back to GTL where they released them back into the sea. They were huge turtles, weighing perhaps 40 kg each and about 1.5 m long.